Dobson's Bar & Restaurant

4.4
1067 Reviews
$30 and under
Californian
Dobson's Bar and Restaurant is a hidden treasure in the heart of Downtown San Diego/Gaslamp Quarter. For the last 37 years, this has been the hot spot for business lunches and frequented by many local and nationwide celebrities. Paul Dobson, the namesake for Dobson's bar and restaurant, is one of America's few professional Bullfighters. The food is California cuisine with a touch of Italian, French, Spanish and Asian cuisine. One thing that both local San Diegans and Zagat can agree on is that this is one of the top restaurants in San Diego. Due to the limited seating and popularity, reservations are highly recommended. Owner Paul Dobson "works a room better than Sinatra", which explains why this "local tradition" downtown remains, "after all these years", a "high-powered, hobnob spot"; the Cal kitchen "serves up delicious, innovative food, along with old standbys" ("have the mussel bisque and think of heaven").
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What 1067 people are saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.4based on recent ratings
4.4
food
4.5
service
4.4
ambience
4.2
value
Noise · Moderate
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MF
vipMFenley
Los Angeles
36 reviews
Dined 20 hours ago
Overall4food4service5ambience4

We had a very enjoyable meal but there were a few minor misses that prevent a five star rating. Mussel bisque is every bit as good as they advertise (world famous). The French Onion Soup was less impressive. Scallops were tasty and well prepared but the accompaniments were disappointing. The rib-eye was undersized for the price. The dessert menu was uninspired. With all that said, the service was great, the food was generally good and the atmosphere was pleasant.

PA
PAULAK
San Diego
4 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Mussel bisque and french bread still the absolute best.

OT
OpenTable Diner
Indiana
1 review
Dined 7 days ago
Overall5food4service5ambience5

Anniversary

MB
MoreBiscuitsplease
San Diego
6 reviews
Dined on November 19, 2021
Overall4food5service4ambience4

It was a great time to dine….1130……everything was easy and effortless.

p
phryno
San Diego
1 review
Dined on November 18, 2021
Overall5food5service4ambience4

Always a great experience, the space is reminiscent of small restaurants in SF or NYC.

OT
OpenTable Diner
San Diego
2 reviews
Dined on November 18, 2021
Overall4food5service4ambience5

Let me just say that I hadn't been to Dobsons in 30 years, it was still lovely. And most of the food was fabulous. The mussel bisque and crab cake were divine. The lamb chops were worth every penny! I tasted the sea bass, I thought it was fishy and too small a portion. But the service was not the best, but it could have just been our waiter, we got our appetizers before we ever got our water, and we had to remind him to get it. We got one delicious slice of bread. But were never offered more.

S
vipSusie
Palm Springs
2 reviews
Dined on November 16, 2021
Overall1food2service3ambience3

There was a happy hour menu that we were not told about till after we ordered and were served.
Our dessert cake was stale as if it was old.

RN
RNRJ
1 review
Dined on November 16, 2021
Overall3food3service3ambience3

Brie appetizer was great! Shrimp linguine had good flavor, slight fishy taste, shrimp overcooked. Pork chop had great flavor, better of two dish, again slightly overcooked. Good service, tight space, a little loud, cozy feel.

d
delilah
1 review
Dined on November 6, 2021
Overall4food4service5ambience3

The mussel bisque was phenomenal as was the truffle ravioli and sourdough bread. I would not however recommend the chocolate cake. They need a better selection of desserts.

AW
AmyW
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on November 5, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Absolutely one of the best meals we have had in years! I had a beet salad and wild mushroom ravioli, husband had mixed greens and a delicious ribeye. Fresh greens, ravioli was perfect in a great cream sauce, and the ribeye was perfection. Service was excellent, cocktails were well made. All in all a wonderful experience.

C
Carla
San Diego
5 reviews
Dined on November 5, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Such a great place. It was our first time there but we will be back. Highly recommend the mushroom raviolis. Their bread was amazing too.

VM
VonnieM
San Francisco
10 reviews
Dined on October 30, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great San Diego gem. Small but well executed menu.

OT
vipOpenTable Diner
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on October 29, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Excellent food, attentive service and a special treat of live music!

b
beverlyk
San Diego
2 reviews
Dined on October 25, 2021
Overall4food4service5ambience4

A nice place to go with some class, old world atmosphere where you can have conversation and good food.

KK
vipKatherineK
Palm Springs
5 reviews
Dined on October 23, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The food was superb, the music was fun, the kids had a great time, we will return.

OT
OpenTable Diner
1 review
Dined on October 22, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Wonderful food and service. This place is quaint and cozy. Always a great time!

JP
vipJerryP
Los Angeles
18 reviews
Dined on October 21, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We will never go to San Diego and not have dinner at Dobson. The food and service is beyond Fantastic!!!!

AA
AmyA
Seattle
1 review
Dined on October 16, 2021
Overall3food4service5ambience4

The music was WAY TOO LOUD for that small space!!!!!!

OT
OpenTable Diner
East Texas
1 review
Dined on October 14, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Lino was amazing! This place is absolutely the best place in San Diego. Ambiance was busy but not hurried. Lino made us feel like we were the only ones there.

OT
OpenTable Diner
Los Angeles
2 reviews
Dined on October 13, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Every dish we had was fantastic!

T
Teddy
Salt Lake City
13 reviews
Dined on October 12, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience4

It was good to be back at Dobson's and find the food as delicious as ever. Loved the mussel bisque and friendly, old city genuine service.

m
vipmopasghetti
Los Angeles
32 reviews
Dined on October 9, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

My husband and I love eating at Dobson's. After a day of visiting family and sight seeing, this is the perfect place to relax with a cocktail and a great meal. The salmon was delicious with fresh veggies and mashed potatoes.
Love the ambience with the wood and lighting. Very East Coast.
And all the staff are so pleasant.

c
vipcopjr
San Diego
19 reviews
Dined on October 8, 2021
Overall2food2service2ambience2

We have been going to Dobson's since the 80's and always loved the food, service and ambiance. Unfortunately as time has passed and Paul is no longer involved it is showing it's age.
We sat upstairs and it was a bit noisy with the live music that was playing. So we found a place at the bar which was great until a very annoying/drunk person sat near us and started talking. When we told her we were going to talk amongst ourselves she became quite obnoxious and finally left
Food was ok, mussel bisque is still good and the wild mushroom ravioli was also good but the Caesar salad was not very tasty.
We thought we would try it again for old times sake but it isn't what it used to be...too bad

C
vipCarole
San Diego
20 reviews
Dined on October 8, 2021
Overall3food4service2ambience3

Dobson's is an old time favorite, but without adequate help it is difficult to want to eat there. I do not believe it is the fault of Dobson's, rather that they are having a difficult time getting enough help.
I won't be back for a while.

TM
vipToddM
Hawaii
5 reviews
Dined on October 5, 2021
Overall4food4service5ambience3

Bar prices very fair. Wine list small but a decent variety. Priced fairly.
Our beet salad was somewhat disappointing but the filet steak and pork chop were superb.
I’d go back.

t
trumpetwife
San Diego
3 reviews
Dined on October 2, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

great atmosphere, we were seated at an amazing table immediately upon arrival

CM
vipCaroleM
Chicago
8 reviews
Dined on October 2, 2021
Overall5food5service4ambience5

We had an outstanding experience at Dobson’s. It was our first time dining there and we found the restaurant charming and a little retro. It was restaurant week Saturday night so it was very busy. Service was a little slow, but the wait staff went out of its way to see to our needs. Our steaks were perfect and the mussel bisque was decadent and divine. We will be returning soon for another lovely experience.

C
Cardinalfan
San Diego
31 reviews
Dined on October 2, 2021
Overall4food4service4ambience4

Food was good. Mussel appetizer superb. We arrived early. Service was superb initially. As it got more crowded service suffered some. Paying the check a challenge as waiters got caught in the chaos. Duck was tasty. Filet Mignonette good. Chocolate Mousse was not too good but loved the cheesecake. Good meal overall.

OT
OpenTable Diner
San Diego
1 review
Dined on October 2, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Mussel bisque is the best

DF
DanF
San Diego
3 reviews
Dined on October 1, 2021
Overall2food1service3ambience5

Beautiful old bar and grill. The food was mediocre at best. We had the Caesar salad (tired looking romaine with pre-shredded, boxed Parmesan); the Ribeye steak (thin and tough); and French fries (limp). They advertise a French Chef, but this was nothing like anything I’ve ever had anywhere in France.

OT
OpenTable Diner
San Diego
1 review
Dined on October 1, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Went to an old favorite of mine with my wife and it did not let us down. Enjoyed the mussel bisque, which is their signature dish, immensely. For our mains, I had the salmon and my wife had the steak frites. Both were cooked perfectly. It just so happened to be restaurant week in San Diego so we got all the food at a bargain price too!

A
vipAnonimo
Las Vegas
4 reviews
Dined on September 30, 2021
Overall5food4service5ambience5

Great old school place with mahogany walls and live music.

OT
vipOpenTable Diner
San Diego
8 reviews
Dined on September 30, 2021
Overall3food3service5ambience5

Well normally this would be my goto after work because it’s across the street From my job. This last experience was far From great. Drinks are always good, but the food was very poor quality. I ordered the Dobson burger medium cooked and it was so black and burnt on the outside it tasted horrible. No flavor at all. The fries were mushy and salty. I also ordered the spinach walnut salad which was also tasteless. I did notice that the place was not the usual busy bustling spot I normally see on a Friday evening.

M
Marbaby
San Diego
4 reviews
Dined on September 30, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Outstanding food and customer service!

KG
KellyG
San Diego
1 review
Dined on September 29, 2021
Overall2food3service3ambience3

Restaurant week...so..$20.00


Ordered ceasar salad as my first course...N.Y. Strip was my second course.

Salad was wilted...sent back..
N.Y. Strip was grisly...sent back

Ordered the salmon with hollandaise and veggies. So very good...fresh and cooked perfectly

BR
BarR
1 review
Dined on September 28, 2021
Overall3food3service4ambience4

Great sourdough bread and bisque.
Good duck.
Okay filets, sea bass and veggies.

m
vipmumz
San Diego
17 reviews
Dined on September 24, 2021
Overall2food2service3ambience2

Steaks weren’t cooked to our order

WD
vipWilliamD
Minneapolis
15 reviews
Dined on September 21, 2021
Overall4food4service5ambience5

Great food …great experience. I’ll be back!

CB
CathyB
Seattle
1 review
Dined on September 20, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Excellent service and food. Lots of people for a Monday night. We will return.

VF
VFonseca18
San Diego
15 reviews
Dined on September 18, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Food and drinks were outstanding. Service was great and we had a great time.

FAQs

Dobson's Bar & Restaurant offers takeout which you can order by calling the restaurant at (619) 231-6771.

Dobson's Bar & Restaurant is rated 4.4 stars by 1067 OpenTable diners.

Yes, you can generally book this restaurant by choosing the date, time and party size on OpenTable. Due to local restrictions, this restaurant may not be accepting reservations at the moment.